“If you are building today, it is of vital importance to understand that you necessarily always find yourself in a system of relationships”. This is the credo of the architect Lina Ghotmeh, who speaks out in this debate with committed statements, with her buildings and in the context of her teaching. After working with Norman Foster and Jean Nouvel, she taught at the École Spéciale, the most conceptual of the Paris architecture schools shaped by Paul Virilio.
Ghotmeh grew up in Beirut, where she studied at the American University. She was shaped by the time in Lebanon shortly after the civil war. In her methodology as an architect, she advocates an “archeology of the future” as precisely as possible as the starting point for every project. She understands this to mean analyzing what already exists, checking it for its – even painful – meanings + then relinking these with the social and political reality of life on site. Ghotmeh combines this translation service with a strong architectural concept.
“TEd’A arquitectes is a workshop and a studio. TEd’A arquitectes propose to move forward by looking back, without losing sight of the past and tradition; to continue to perfect tradition as an indisputable heritage; to defend regional identities against totalizing uniformity. We prefer evolution to revolution.”
The position and work of TEd’A Arquitectes stands out to mark a cultural position against naïve technophilia. The office has a theoretical base and a body or work that substantiates their approach. TEd’A Arquitectes belong to the generation of architects that has transcended the binary opposition of modernism versus postmodernism.
Without nostalgia, without self-aggrandizing pathos, the work of TEd’A Arquitectes shows how respectful syntheses of contexts are possible everywhere. Standing in line with similar architects who preceded them TEd’A Arquitectes offer an approach that understands their presence and actions as simultaneously specific in time and opportunities as well as general and transcendent.
The collective, founded in 2005, is working on redesigning the use of materials in architecture and construction. It is often said that the great task of architecture in future is no longer in new construction, but in rebuilding and continuing construction. But what exactly does that mean and what consequences would this analysis have for the architectural discipline? No one has tested it so broadly and intensively in recent years as Rotor. As the name implies, it’s about cycles, specifically material cycles. Together with a lawyer they have developed a “Vademecum for the reuse of building materials”. The guide combines a close examination of the legal framework with the practical experience that Rotor has gained over the years in the recycling of components.
Antonas is considered internationally to be one of the most intellectually experienced players in the current debate on culture-critical theory development in today’s fragile Europe.
A major challenge in current discussions about architecture and cities is critical confrontation with the increasingly stronger neo-liberal occupation mechanisms in Europe. Aristide Antonas, Greek Architect and Philosopher, was one of the first people to examine this complex situation actively and ask about the potential, for instance by focusing on specific issues of social housing or the privatisation of public spaces in Greece.
“Bruther”, established in Paris in 2007 by Stephanie Bru and Alexandre Thériot, has been doing exemplary work and represents a new approach amongst young architects in Europe to reigniting the legacy of the post-war European “welfare state”.
In Paris, as in many other large cities, young families, immigrants and students are increasingly being pushed further out into the suburbs. This is not solely attributable to the lack of affordable housing, but also to the shortfalls in public spending. City councils are struggling to fund the public services that were prevalent in the 1950’s and 60’s.
With their projects, many of which are designs for affordable housing with few minimum requirements, the two French designers have conquered new territory in the field of architectural design and redefined the notion of architecture as a collective good.